I was talking with Katy about one of my best friends, who had shared with me that she was struggling with her anxiety. She is a teacher, and as the beginning of the school year draws closer, and opinions on how the year should proceed grow stronger, she is overwhelmed.
I feel like ‘overwhelmed’ should be the official word of 2020, but I digress.
I told Katy that my new affirmation was that no matter how stressed out I felt, at least I wasn’t a teacher in the time of COVID.
Katy then told me how she’s using a musical analogy with some of her clients to describe where we are now with so much information and so few facts regarding this pandemic. She said, “It’s like you’re singing a song in ¾ time and then, there is a portion that switches to 5/8 time and we’re all struggling to find the rhythm.”
When you sing in a group and you’re given new music for the first time, those run-throughs are ROUGH, regardless of your prior musical experience.
Some of us sing louder believing that will help everyone get in sync. Others become intimidated and mouth the words. Still, others stop singing altogether. Everyone is singing something different.
It seems that as soon as you get familiar with the rhythm, there is a time change, and you have to muddle your way through it. You’re not only off rhythm, but you’re out of key.
It’s a cacophony of voices.
Even a skilled conductor or musician knows that this will happen, and the larger the group, the longer it takes to get everyone on the same beat.
We’ve been singing a new song for three months and as soon as we seem to be in harmony, there’s a time change, so we’re back to our discordant wailing.
Our anxiety is about the unknown. Sure, we’ll nail this portion of the song, and then before we know it, we get hit with something like 11/8 time. It’s maddening.
Just remember that none of us are KILLING this particular piece of music, some of us just know that we will sing it badly at first. Some of us want to get it perfect right away, some of us don’t want to sing it at all, and that’s where our anxiety comes to greet us.
Sometimes, we need to put the music away for a minute and focus on something else before we sing ourselves hoarse, BUT if we take our time and go over it slowly, making sure we understand the rhythm for our own section, we’ll get there.